Sunday Mailbag April 24

You Don't Mess with the Mouse

C.P. in Los Angeles, CA, writesGreat item on the brewing battle of Ron DeSantis vs. The House Of Mouse. I would like to add that the Florida governor is in way over his head. The Trumpists seem to think that the legislation to end the Reedy Creek Improvement District is a "checkmate," but I see the battle as just beginning. Disney always plays the long game.

Perhaps DeSantis should speak with the city of Anaheim to find out what he is in for. When Disney sought to build "Westcot" as their second gate in the other Orange County, they demanded infrastructure commitments from Anaheim. When the city balked and neighbors started to oppose the new project, Disney canceled it. In its place, they proposed a new park in Long Beach, which is not only miles from Disney but in a different county. It also had the benefit of having hotel space, which threatened to steal valued overnight guests.

Amazingly, Long Beach read the cards wrong and also refused to play ball. Instead of making concessions, Disney canceled that project too and also ended their lease of the Queen Mary, which would have been a centerpiece to the new park. They shipped the park to Tokyo and Japan became the home to one of the greatest theme parks ever created. Long Beach eventually got stuck with the rotting hull of the Queen Mary and now has to sink millions into keeping it afloat.

Disney's next move was to approach Anaheim, which had learned its lesson, and gave the Mouse the concessions that they requested. Unfortunately, for everyone involved the park they got was California Adventure (which was a shell of the Disney's America park that Virginia had lost) instead of Westcot. They definitely paid a price for the delay.

I don't see Disney uprooting Disney World, but they can definitely pull back investments in the property. The money will be reallocated to other areas. I am hoping for a third gate in Anaheim, but incentives could create a push towards a new property. The eventual addition of a fith park at Disney World would definitely move further into the horizon.

The first step I see Disney taking to retaliate against DeSantis is to cancel the plans to move Imagineering to Florida. The company has already lost some valuable talent who refused to make the move. The current events in Florida would allow them to save face by keeping the division headquartered in California and, hopefully, ending the talent drain.


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